BOULDER, Colo. (AP) Arizona coach Jedd Fisch was out of breath as he emerged from the locker room. All that dancing with his players left him drained.

So did a game in which the Wildcats didn't lead until the final snap.

Tyler Loop connected on a 24-yard field goal with no time remaining, and No. 23 Arizona rallied to beat Colorado 34-31 on Saturday at sold-out Folsom Field.

Jonah Coleman rushed for 179 yards as the Wildcats (7-3, 5-2 Pac-12, No. 21 CFP) earned their fourth consecutive victory.

Fisch has the Wildcats bowl-eligible in his third season in charge. So he understands the plight of first-year Colorado coach Deion Sanders, who is trying to turn around a program that went 1-11 a season ago.

“I would not be worried if I was a Colorado fan,” Fisch said. “They have a fantastic head coach that is going to do just great.”

Arizona trailed 24-17 at the break, and didn't take its first lead until Loop's field goal. The Wildcats are 13-74 when trailing at halftime in the Pac-12 era, according to league research.

“Always hard to win on the road,” Coleman said, “in the atmosphere like this.”

Shedeur Sanders ran for a score and threw for two more as the Buffaloes (4-6, 1-6) lost for the sixth time in seven games since a 3-0 start. Sanders also finished with 262 yards passing to go over the 10,000-yard mark for his career.

“We could have won the darn game. I like that we should have won. I’m tired of we could’ve won,” said coach Deion Sanders, whose team had 11 penalties for 83 yards. “There ain’t no lose in me. It don’t sit well with me. It don’t rock well with me. It don’t lay down with me. I have no lose in me."

Colorado kicker Alejandro Mata missed a 44-yard field goal to the right with 4:57 remaining.

Coleman and freshman quarterback Noah Fifita then went to work on an 11-play, 67-yard drive, setting up Loop's winner. Loop also connected on a career-best 52-yard field goal with 1:32 remaining before halftime.

Fifita threw for 214 yards and two scores. Receiver Montana Lemonious-Craig caught five passes for 67 yards against his former team. Lemonious-Craig entered the transfer portal after Colorado’s spring game and has been a dependable target for Fifita.

Lemonious-Craig was given a game ball by Fisch for stopping near the goal line so the Wildcats could run down the clock late in the game.

Tetairoa McMillan had nine catches for 107 yards for the Wildcats, highlighted by a one-handed grab in the end zone for a 2-yard score that tied the game at 24-apiece early in the third quarter.

Sanders' 7-yard TD pass to tight end Michael Harrison late in the third was on the heels of a roughing call on Arizona defensive end Taylor Upshaw. Upshaw briefly joined Colorado in the spring before transferring to Arizona. As Sanders was getting up following the hit, he had some words for Upshaw.

Two-way standout Travis Hunter had five catches for 74 yards on offense and six tackles, along with a pass breakup, on defense.

Sanders, who started his career at Jackson State, is closing in on single-season program records at Colorado. He has thrown for 3,144 yards this season, just behind the single-season mark of 3,200 set by Sefo Liufau in 2014.

Sanders is frustrated, too, by coming close each week. Colorado's last four losses have been by a total of 25 points.

“You can’t go in a dark tunnel if you have a season like this,” Shedeur Sanders said. “Nothing will be ever perfect in life.”


Arizona: The Wildcats have their best record through 10 games since 2017. That was also the last time they were bowl-eligible until this season.

Colorado: The Buffaloes played in front of a sellout crowd in all six games at Folsom Field this season. They finished 2-4 at home this season.


Basketball Hall of Famer Julius Erving was among the celebrities on the Colorado sideline. ... The Buffaloes honored 14 players on Senior Day. ... Arizona defensive back Martell Irby hurt his left knee in the first half. He was on the sideline cheering in the second half wearing a knee brace.


Shedeur Sanders was presented with the 26th edition of the “Buffalo Heart Award,” which is awarded to the Colorado player who best exemplifies “heart, determination, desire and grit.”

“It means a lot,” Sanders said.


Arizona: Hosts Utah next Saturday.

Colorado: Two straight road games to finish the season, starting next Friday at Washington State.


Get alerts on the latest AP Top 25 poll throughout the season. Sign up here


AP college football: and

Copyright 2024 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.